Hughes and Morgan impress at FEI Pony European Championships
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Great Britain’s Ruby Hughes and Gracie Morgan put up an admirable challenge in Strzegom, Poland (11 – 15 August 2021) for their first FEI European Championship appearance, showing much promise for the future.
The first day of action commenced on the Wednesday, which saw riders compete in the Team Test, where the first medals, for those nations fielding teams, were decided; competing as individuals, Ruby and Gracie battled it out for individual honours.
Gracie was up first with her twelve-year-old mare, Ella; a home-produced pony that has been with her for three years. The North East-based rider who was a Foundation and National Academy Athlete in 2019 and 2020, gained a 67.743% score.
Ruby (13), competing at her first FEI Pony European Championships, also achieved a competitive score, 70.714%, with Hilkens Showgirl (Dreidimensional x Champion De Luxe) – a Westphalian mare owned by Shirley Rixon.
Speaking about her trip, Ruby was so thankful to be selected, “I was really excited it was such an achievement to go with her, being only eight years old and to be competing alongside some of the best in the Pony world.” She went on to say, “The weather was great and thankfully it doesn’t affect her so she was on great form.”
Ruby gained the 2020 National U21 and Children on Horses title with Bee Gee 8. Her partnership with Hilkens Showgirl has been forming for just a year and the mare is quite new to international level, “She has only ever done one international before at Wellington CDI so I’m super pleased with her.”
The German team smashed through the podium taking four out of the top five placings, alongside Denmark.
The campaign continued with the Individual Test, with both British riders improving on their scores from the previous day. Ruby riding a superb test to achieve 19th on 71.378%, “It was a very busy atmosphere but she performed so well and was very comfortable in the arena, even producing a personal best.”
Gracie and Ella (pictured above) also performed a beautiful test to be awarded 69.865% to sit in 29th place against 63 combinations. Ruby unfortunately just missed out on competing in the Freestyle on Sunday.
Speaking about the whole experience, Ruby loved being around the entire equestrian team, “The show ran so well and it was great watching all the other disciplines, we even got to walk the cross-country course and some of the heights are amazing, I will definitely be sticking to dressage!”
Germany, after taking Team Gold, went on to gain more podium placings in the Individual and Freestyle, with Rose Oatley and Daddy Moon taking Gold in all three classes.
British Dressage congratulates the riders and ponies, support staff, parents and everyone behind the scenes for a highly successful European Championships.
Results: Top-five and British placings
FEI Pony Team Test
1. Rose Oatley and Daddy Moon, 82.629% (GER)
2. Antonia Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 78.114% (GER)
3. Sophia Boje Obel Jorgensen and Adriano B, 77.914% (DEN)
4. Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Carleo Go, 75.429% (GER)
5. Antonia Busch-Kuffner and Kastanienhof Cockney Cracker, 75.286% (GER)
23. Ruby Hughes and Hilkens Showgirl, 70.714% (GBR)
41. Gracie Morgan and Ella, 67.743% (GBR)
Pony Team placings
Gold – Germany, 236,172
Silver – Denmark, 221,714
Bronze – The Netherlands, 218,428
FEI Pony Individual Test
Gold - Rose Oatley and Daddy Moon, 82.270% (GER)
Silver - Antonia Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 81.027% (GER)
Bronze - Sophia Boje Obel Jorgensen and Adriano B, 79.676% (DEN)
4. Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Carleo Go, 77.622% (GER)
5. Cornelia Munch Sinding and Terbofens Charico, 74.405% (DEN)
19. Ruby Hughes and Hilkens Showgirl, 71.378% (GBR)
29. Gracie Morgan and Ella, 69.865% (GBR)
FEI Pony Freestyle
Gold - Rose Oatley and Daddy Moon, 89.700% (GER)
Silver - Antonia Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 85.090% (GER)
Bronze - Sophia Boje Obel Jorgensen and Adriano B, 83.050% (DEN)
4. Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Carleo Go, 82.810% (GER)
5. Cornelia Munch Sinding and Terbofens Charico, 78.425% (DEN)
Photo © Łukasz Kowalski
Words: British Dressage/Joanna Bowns